4. Kramer vs. Kramer (A-)
1979's Best Picture winner, which I have vague memories of seeing on TV at some point, though I really don't remember much about it. It's interesting to consider this and the following year's winner, Ordinary People
, suggesting a deep cultural interest in the state of the American family at the time. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep both won Oscars for the movie, and one can see why. The filmmakers put a lot of effort into trying to balance the two parents, but this is undermined in some ways by the fact that we only really see Hoffman's POV. It is his story, mind you, and the movie is already two hours long, but POV influences how audiences interpret events quite strongly (from the commentary, they were clearly aware of this, hence their being anxious to cast as Joanna somebody who could keep the audience from writing her off in the first five minutes).
5. Super 8 (B+)
Got this cheap on Blu-ray on Boxing Day. I saw this when it came out in the summer of 2011, and liked it; the second viewing pretty much confirms my earlier opinions. It's a good movie, but it's also a frustrating one because it feels like it has the nucleus of a much better one. All of the best scenes are the ones with the kids making a movie and interacting with each other; everyone else I've talked to who saw it says the same. And yet, for some reason the movie also has aliens in it. Every time the monster shows up, despite the scenes with him being competently done, I just wanted to shoo him offscreen. Also, the subplot involving the main boy and his father really doesn't work, because the dad is just such a dick that it's impossible for me to care about his relationship with his son (and it comes with what feels like a very unearned payoff). The kid actors are terrific (and the featurettes on the DVD pertaining to them are very winning), especially Elle Fanning, who was the main beneficiary of this film, so far.
Home Video: 3 (+2)